National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) secretary-general Ng Chee Meng vowed that NTUC will redouble its efforts to upskill its workers as this is "the best way" to "hold down the rising cost of living impact and importantly create better work prospects" for all workers.
Ng was speaking at the first physical May Day rally on Sunday (May 1) at D’Marquee at Downtown East. Almost 900 persons were in attendance, and intermingling was allowed following the lifting of Covid restrictions.
He also shared that NTUC will continue to "take concrete actions to secure win-win for Singapore and for Singaporeans".
"As I stand on stage this morning, I am thankful, really thankful, that we have largely weathered the Covid storm. And now, taking steps to cast our vision beyond the issues of today to seize new opportunities, open up our economy, and really launch forward on the long term."
Making Company Training and Transformation Committees better
To do so, Ng shared that NTUC will continue to leverage on the Company Training and Transformation Committees (CTCs), launched by NTUC in 2019.
While NTUC now has over 900 CTCs today, Ng said that NTUC wants to "do better" with its CTCs, and design more possibilities to create "ground impact" that will create better business and wages.
"CTCs are really like a baby growing up. Now, somewhat in form, but needing much more nurturing to grow it into full fruition."
Ng thanked the government for its support in affording NTUC S$100 million to scale its work force and transform the industry.
The S$100 million amount includes a S$70 million grant, which Ng shared all CTC companies will be able to tap on to implement their transformation plans.
"What it will mean to all sisters and brothers here is that you will be upskilled, hopefully with better work prospects in the near term and in the long term, and in turn, better wages that can be sustained as the industry transforms."
For businesses, Ng shared that the outcome would hopefully be one of enhanced productivity and innovation, and the ability to attract and retain talent better.
1,000 employer partners
1,000 employer partners who qualify for the grant are expected to receive support over the next four years.
Ng shared that NTUC e2i will begin processing applications from CTC companies for the grant from August 2022.
Ng urged NTUC's employer partners who have yet to set up the CTC to "embrace the CTC", and partner with NTUC and union leaders to effect industry transformation together.
"In the uncertain times ahead, there will be many new challenges, but we all in the labor movement, must remind ourselves to always anchor firmly to advance the interests of workers and create a better life for them.
Together with the government, we must strengthen tripartism as a uniquely Singaporean competitive advantage."
New initiatives to tackle rising costs and address new generation concerns
During his May Day speech, Ng also shared that to address immediate ground concerns of rising costs of living, NTUC will be looking into ways to help Singaporeans stretch their dollar.
A new initiative will be launched across all Kopitiam outlets – which are owned by NTUC – by end 2022, to help keep the costs of cooked food and drinks affordable for union members.
NTUC members and NTUC Link members can get 10 per cent savings – in the form of cash discounts and Linkpoints – when they pay using the NTUC FairPrice app at Kopitiam food courts and coffee shops.
Ng also announced that the concerns of the new generation entering the workforce will be a key priority for NTUC for the year.
NTUC will be creating a task force for young individuals joining the workforce to learn more about their work-life needs, with plans for the task force to reach out to 10,000 young workers who are 25 years old and below.
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Top image via Ng Chee Meng Facebook